hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

The Music Takes Us There

You are moving along perfectly fine with a so-called “modern relationship”. Suddenly you notice this wonderful melody in the background. The music sounds so good, it makes you feel good, then you notice you are feeling good in the presence of this person. There goes our brains, song+ this person= good feeling. You are doomed.

At this point in our lives things are not as we were led to believe, or should I say we allowed ourselves to believe, uncomplicated, simpler, easier. Just when you thought you understood things, you had adjusted your mind to wrap around what the two of you were doing…now you feel some-kinda-way. This person even looks different. The cute little way they look when something is on their mind, that silly laugh…wait before you attached the beautiful song to them these very same things rather annoyed you. What is happening? Well, the first thing you HAVE to do is find out the name of that song and the artist. Because that song clearly defines what is going on between the two of you. Sound like high school?

Let’s step back, lets re-evaluate what has just transpired. We (the baby-boomers) have far too many things to figure out. We are NOT doing retirement and getting older like our predecessors did. We listened more to what doctors said about taking care of our physical selves, we made some good decisions about our financial situations, many of us think our mental health is important and are proactive in that area. These things are scratching the surface of what we need to do to keep ourselves whole. Still there is more work to do.

So, we venture back into RelationshipLand. This “place” is crazy on the best of days. Now prior to that song entering your psyche, the lines were drawn and clear. Every other week at 1p.m. lunch at the best Thai restaurant in town, or was it “dessert” at your place at 1 a.m.? In either case, all parties concerned had a clear understanding of their role/position. Thanks to the blasted crooner you wonder what “he” is doing right now or is “she” wearing your favorite perfume. The smiles or tears are being induced by the lyrics you heard. Yet, you do not understand what has changed. The music is hypnotic, now your relationship has a soundtrack, now its very nature has been altered.

I love music, period. I use it to accomplish tasks. If I am working out at the gym, in the kitchen cooking (rare as that is) or sitting in front of my laptop writing… the music facilitates the processes. It is/can be a catalyst in many instances, as in this subject we are currently addressing. For all the love and respect, I give to the fabulous art of music, when it comes to affair of the heart, I would say enjoy it but don’t listen to the pretty words. For the music WILL take you “there”.

“Gun-Shy”

Well, it finally has happened. I thought I was immune. I knew the risks involved and felt I was up to the challenges. I have “weathered a few storms” and I chocked it up to process. However, I truly got blindsided. What’s more is I see myself retreating, in spite of the fact I know I must continue on.

Look, all of us have had experiences that stop us in our tracks. Most of the time we look at these experiences, take the information obtained, and use it the next time. I can only recall having the wind taken out of me, in my early days of dating. That happened because I had never traveled certain roads before.
Today a seasoned veteran, there was a bit of cockiness. I was self-assured, I did not feel invincible, but I felt like I would not get in so deep that I would not see certain dangers as they approached, let alone smack me in the back of my head. Yet, here I sit, injured, examining my wounds, and not knowing if I want to heal the injury or hope that I am not really looking at an actual wound. I am telling myself ridiculous things like,” maybe I am misinterpreting things…”

I now must admit I feel fear in treading the waters of the dating world. I have been hurt. I want revenge, I want retribution, but through it all I would give anything to be wrong. I know this cut is a deep one… I did not know or believe that one could still have this kind of feeling. It wasn’t this breathless when it was going on. Maybe because I was in denial, maybe because I told myself…”I like him, and I am possibly on the way to bigger and better”. However, I now know I was already at “bigger and better” and all the denial on the planet does not change what I am now experiencing.

Getting over and beyond him is only one aspect of this thing, I must now go through what seems to be considerable changes. I am pondering not wanting to put myself in a forum where this is possible again. That both frightens and saddens me. It is time to take a break, I think. I need to re-evaluate things, I need to revisit some ideas and yes, I need time to “lick my wounds“.

Truth is somewhere in between, wanting to inflict the same disappointment on this individual and relief that we did not work out, is real confusion. I not only let my guard down, but I was also adventurous (or naive) enough to relax some of my own requirements. I did this with my eyes wide open and as my inner voice was shouting,” You know you don’t like this and/or that characteristic”. I gauge how I am dealing with my feelings with a barometer, which has readings ranging from strong to indifferent. He is still teetering in the middle; I know that is a dangerous spot. He could slip back in; hey I might even be tempted to invite him back. That would be a tragic disaster in my opinion. He’d be armed with the knowledge I had felt something for him, and I accepted that which was unacceptable. He would have free reign and I would be handing it to him. See I already know the place we are now in, SHOULD digress to nothingness, for MY OWN GOOD.

The take-away here, the moral of this story… follow your first mind or be prepared to face the consequences.

You Sir, Are No Gentleman

I met him about 40 years ago. He was a funny, handsome (by some/many standards), charismatic young man. He was my friend, AND I kept him at-arms-length. I was married but even if I had not been he could not have ever been more than my friend. He was involved in a serious relationship and then there were the others. Oh, how he enjoyed the others. His horrible mantra was “8 to 80 blind, crippled, or crazy…” Now I know one might read this and already think they know my friend. One might wonder how/why I would call him my friend. One might wonder why I am even bothering to write about him. Well, the first thing that must be conveyed is my friend is merely a metaphor for a particular type of man and this is the story of how we can all find ourselves involved with this guy in a fashion one would have been willing to wager, would not/could not happen.

He walked onto the workroom floor in a way that let you know he was trouble. Then he’d flash his smile or pick up a heavy package or hold the door. You’d find yourself thinking and or saying, “You are so sweet”. I laughed as I saw my co-workers fall for him one by one. He had his pick, and he was by no stretch selective. He was an opportunist’s opportunist. Due to his nature, he did try his tactics with me. He did find I was a person of my word. He did not have time to alter who/what he was. There was a plethora of opportunity around, AND they were FAR less trouble. Thus, we became friends. He and I had philosophical discussions of the ills of his behavior, treatment of women, and his disregard of relationships. In my 20’s I pegged him, I also pegged his kinder, more subtle counterpart (the classic wolf in sheep’s clothing). Yet, through-it-all the reality of the situation, was we were all friends.

Years later, miles apart I discovered my friend had passed away from a heart attack. I found out from his counterpart, who continuously denied being anything like his buddy, all the while demonstrating he was exactly the same guy. It was no surprise (to me) that I did end up being personally involved with the “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” once I was widowed. I walked into it with my eyes wide open. I did fortunately escape. Even though I did not really want to escape. Nothing would have pleased me more than to be the one that captured the “wolf”. However, because I had been so “close ” to him, I could NOT ignore the signs.

As I fast forward, as I look at yet another archetype…I do wonder HOW I found myself involved with a new “wolf”! Too old, too smart, too sophisticated, too experienced for such nonsense to take place…yet it did. I can happily and not so happily say, I got out with minimal damage. I cannot help but send out the warning. It is as in all situations, someone doing something bad makes it hard for a righteous person or one trying to do the right thing. Somewhere out there a true gentleman, a true romantic, a truly good guy will have to be subject to scrutiny and suspicion Additionally, possible good relationships will be jeopardized and ultimately fail because of these bad actors and the need to protect our hearts, souls and purses. Be safe out there ladies, the wolves walk among us. They can appear to be sweet, chivalrous, good, kind, and yes church-going-fellows…BUT they are by no stretch GENTLEMEN.

Parting Gifts

There you are, standing waiting for the results. You hear those infamous words, “and the winner is…” Your name is not called. You get an accommodating smile, kind words as a testament to what a great job/effort you made. All you hear is, “I did NOT win. A game show tactic, a way to make all participants feel ok with where they ended up. Perhaps this is short-sighted, perhaps it is ungrateful, however, allinall, no one plays for second.

I recall vividly when Tiger Woods was at his peak, he was all the sports magazines and writers could talk about. Whatever tournament he was in, he was projected to win. He was in the number one spot without competing for YEARS. Disgruntled, disappointed players spoke of NOT being counted out, but they fell, one by one. Others, who included champions spoke of him and looked upon him in pure simple “awe”.

Then he met with his “fall from grace”. No one stays on top forever, but the abruptness of the ending is what bothers us the most.

All beginnings are or should be with hopeful expectation, this one was no exception. Not what was the norm, there was a degree of cynicism. You move forward anyway, nothing else of significance is happening…”why not” To your surprise it starts off good and gets better. RAPIDLY. Before you know it there are flickers of hope, they soon turn to stars in your eyes. The fact that he says and does the right things at the right time is no coincident or happenstance. You will later discover or deduce it was a plan, his “M.O.” Nonetheless for now it is all good! You make time for one another. There are countless reasons for communication you both seem to seize each and every one of them too. There seems to be a meeting of the minds and therefore why shouldn’t you endeavor a physical connection.

One of the biggest challenges of online connections and long-distance relationships is a time factor. When you are in close proximity, you figure out early on whether or not you want this to move forward, and it is as simple as selecting a middle ground location. The couple that has to face the fact they are miles and miles apart have to be cautious as well as factoring in timing. How long do we wait to see one another in person, where do we meet, if we like one another how far do we take this on an initial meeting? For one wrong move, one miscalculation or misinterpretation can destroy the potential relationship before it gets out the gate. Moving too fast may give the impression of desperation or promiscuity ( imagine that at our age). While moving too slow make for more competition to enter into the equation.

Therefore, you play it by ear, you go with your gut. At first seemingly you are on the right track. Then out-of-the-blue everything changes. You ask what happened, what is wrong with the other person, what did you do wrong. These questions asked separately or in conjunction with one another still call for expert interpretation and still you have a massive margin for error. One might think well go straight to the source. While that seems to make sense what gives you the expectation that any truth will come from the direct approach. Then you are left to your own devices. You figure, guess, surmise numerous scenarios and each of them gives you solace, until you entertain another possibility.

Nothing is feeling right at this point in time, and nothing makes sense. In my humble opinion it, all boils down to this, you were NOT playing for a consolation prize, you were in this to win. Somehow you fell short and for whatever the reason, nothing makes it better. In the end you realize that no matter what you obtained from this experience, there is virtually nothing to keep this from happening again. Yet you find yourself right back in the arena, playing for the win. Again

“HeyMs.Parker…..”

Anyone who knows their way around the “Friday” franchise is familiar with that quote. I can smile as I think of my younger brother’s friends who charmingly referred to me with that greeting from time to time. I was amused at the time and feigned flattery. Now as I look back, flattered is exactly what I should have been. I recall being told that the actress who played Ms. Parker, Kathleen Bradley, was a former Miss Black California and had been a model on the Price Is Right. I “tahtahed” that off, because as a part of the cult-following of the movie itself, almost all of the characters were special in their own rights.

Over the years there have been remarks some complimentary others had undertones of jealousy, judgement and judgmental. Being tall a lady makes one stand out. Yes, I emphatically consider myself a lady. I do not believe I have done anything to exclude myself from that classification. I am mostly amused by the reactions of my contemporaries and counterparts. I can only imagine what goes through their heads when a person who falls in the average category sees me (standing 5’10 in my bare feet) wearing heels and a dress that reveals my legs. Legs that probably look like they are far longer than they actually are. The standards of size, beauty, what is and is not acceptable, varies from one being to the next. Then the judgements begin.

When I used to deliver mail, female carriers had uniforms that included an item called culottes (split skirts). Doing a physical job like that, it is imperative that one is comfortable. The culottes were my choice. Neat, clean, and in approved standard attire I was still subject to snide little off-color comments. I was younger so not only did I not care, but I also had answers back for my critics and commentors. Years/decade later I still meet with the same types of critiques. I am fortunate enough to have decent health, I also try to stay healthy, I eat fairly good, I go to the gym daily, and I follow my physician’s advice. When I walk past the ladies in my community, a senior community that I bother to pick up trash around (that other have not so courteously dropped), and I greet them I am well aware that they do not approve of my look. If I am honest, I have to say, I STILL really do not care. I am not harming anyone and just like my old letter carrier uniform; neat, clean, and within the approved standard of… in this case decent. What I wear has all to do with MY comfort; how I feel and how I feel I look.

In my mind see Ms.Parker bending over in her shorts watering the grass, I wonder if I appear that way to people in the neighborhood. I am not even close to her image, but when we talk about perceptions who knows. One thing for certain, no one around this community will be invited in to “pray with me or “prey” upon me.

Just Somebody I Used To Know

I was about 18 years old and madly in love…with a young man who was NOT in love with me. One day while I was sitting at my job looking sad, likely just finishing my daily cry, one of my friends who was quite handsome himself, came to me and asked what was wrong. I told him of my lament. He sweetly told me, all you have to do is stop letting him have the power to hurt you, all you have to do is let him go. While that sounds like it is almost too simple to work, it was good advice. He was right. That’s another story, however it sets the tone for this piece.

In the wake of political decisions that seemingly are hurling us into our backward pasts, our friends, family, associates are polarized and vocal. It is happening in places and with individuals you could never imagine. Mine occurred in a subtle, innocent conversation with somebody I used to know. What started off and was, I believe was intended to be a casual, friendly talk and possible meet-up/reconnect became an eye-opening startle. The arrogance and entitlement came blustering through. I guess he thought he was being funny and cute. He may not even be aware that he was coming off offensive to me, for it was the undertones that came blaring out at me, even though he was not exactly directing his smug thinking at me.

Perhaps he had a bad day, maybe it was a direct encounter that prompted the talk. He could have been coming to someone he felt was close enough to in order feel something other than what he conveyed…end result is he unwittingly, unknowingly showed me something that made me feel quite happy we were no longer involved, and our contact was sporadic. Furthermore, he made me know that we cannot be ANYTHING even on the most miniscule level. I don’t even want to be in the same room with him. In my “eyes” he is a cretin. He disguised himself well, but the truth is any one of us can behave ourselves for a short period of time. What I find so ironic is that he did not consider the consequences of him revealing himself to me or affecting me in such a way that was not positive. Therefore, he had no reason to think I would not want to be in his presence. He clearly sees nothing wrong with what he said and that makes “us” having interaction even more ridiculous.

I thought maybe being around me, my ways, my points of view made him consider things outside his norm. There did not seem to be any communication issues, we talked a lot. However, once we were no longer involved, he was allowed/forced back to what was his comfort zone, the small narrowminded spaces he occupied along with the same type of people overtook him and returned him to something he had considered venturing away from.

I wish I was a big enough person to want to “pull his coat-tail”, I wish I could get beyond my being offended to try to inform and enlighten a once seemingly good person. I am not, all I want him to do is go back where he came from, no longer invade my space and allow me to forget I ever met such a human. Then if I ever by chance run into and cannot avoid him completely, I can tell myself he is somebody I used to know, with a question-mark.

“Rats In Cuter Outfits…”

I guess I cannot help but to utilize metaphors in describing this journey through ” senior dating”. Try not to laugh. Although I find it comical as well as frustrating. Admittedly, I do not know what it is I am in search of at times. The one thing I am clear on is that I certainly have NOT come into contact with it…so far. As amazing as it seems, I am still hopeful. There is the possibility of a miracle.

Here we are, figuring this “stuff” out. “IT” is not easy. Just when you think you have the answer(s) you seek, an exception/a variation appears. Now it seems we have formulated this set of “deal breakers” but then along comes the one who is checking off all of the boxes, so many of the boxes and as time goes on…one or two of the boxes.

What began as legitimate requirements and at times very superficial whims begin to degenerate. Try as you might, resist valiantly, after several failed attempts you find yourself sitting across from an individual that you aren’t sure can walk upright, let alone carry on a coherent conversation. Strict and proper upbringing makes you try to be polite and not literally RUN FOR IT! This is not funny/fun anymore; it is becoming scary. Yet as bad as this type may seem, there is one much worse.

The one who is worse gives off the appearance and demonstrates the temperament of a serious contender. He is the squirrel…he gets through the phone calls, he is familiar with eating utensils, he even has the right look. However, upon closer examination the truth about him comes out. You start to see through that fluffy coat and full plume covering his tail. The cute little twitching nose starts taking on familiar characteristics of a rodent. His bight eyes become beady. Suddenly you realize he is that rat, that same rat that you find repulsive and determined is unwelcome in your life. You ask yourself how he got past all of the screens you set up. Then it hits you, he was wearing a disguise. However, like any disguise, it eventually has to come off. In this case when he dropped his guard, the costume fell to the ground and revealed although you had been keeping company with a squirrel for sure, he was still just a rat in a cuter outfit.

Splintered, Fractured, and Shattered

As I finished my cardio workout at the gym this morning, I felt it happening. It comes from nowhere, out-of-the-blue. My eyes are drawn downward, then the tightness is felt in my chest, then finally the water begins to well up in my eyes. Though the years have passed the feeling, the hurt, the pain returns with the intensity and velocity they had the moment it happened. I tried to look upward so the tears would not fall. I inhaled and exhaled deeply, not uncommon while one is working out so it could go unnoticed, but you must understand when the grief overtakes me, I really don’t care who sees me. This thing that was happening was the result of me trying to fight it off, my attempt to keep the sadness at bay.

I moved to the next machine and the thoughts started happening. “You know you are never gonna be whole again”, the voice said to me. YES, I know this consciously. I counted out my sets but there it was, ” You have lost every close familial relationship one can have. Father, mother, child, sibling, spouse and 4 of those 5 took place inside of 3 years. How crazy are you?” I have to realize what an effort it is most days to simply remain upright. I was ready to just stop my workout. I saw myself walking out of the gym, getting into my car, and staring out into oblivion before I collapsed into and puddle. I could picture the mess that I am, I could hear that primal scream. It all seemed too real but yet I was still in the gym, still at the triceps’ machine. I also still exist in the place where all of the afore mentioned loss has occurred. I still want to escape the reality of that. I continue my work out, and do in fact manage to finish it without losing control.

As I get into my car and prepare to leave, I realize how very broken I am and furthermore how I will never be the whole individual I once was ever again. I liken myself to a car without its engine, brakes, powertrain and even the steering wheel. At first glance it can be recognized as a car, but upon close examination you soon discover it is missing parts. It is not beyond repair, it can run again, it is in need of some very vital parts. Without those parts it will simply sit in a stationary position and deteriorate. Unlike the car what is missing from me cannot ever be replaced; substitutions and distractions are the best that can be hoped for from my splintered, fractured, and shattered existence. There are still good things left as with the metaphor (the car) you just have to realize that even put back into running condition it is/I am forever changed, and I shall always be aware of that which I used to be/that which I have lost.

Translation…”I Don’t Care”

I’m not jealous or insecure… You can tell me anything…” Has anyone ever uttered those words to you? How did you react, what did you think? Let’s explore some possibilities here.

The era of no-contact everything is here. Touchless entries, download the app to expedite BLANK, keep at least this much distance between yourself and others, and mask according to CDC and local guidelines. However, this is not about protection from the pandemic, this is about protecting your heart, mind, soul, and bank accounts.

As we navigated the terrane of this thing called dating, we found a common ground. We communicated in the traditional fashion. We decided to keep moving forward in spite of the obstacle of distance. In all due honesty I am NOT a fan of long distant relationships. I do personally know of a successful one. I just KNOW that I am far too…whatever. I require time and attention, no matter how I try to downplay it, sooner or later my unwillingness and/or inability to tone that down shows up and shows out.

Of late more individuals have appeared and have been checking off the boxes. I began feeling hopeful. Then in he walked (not literally). I did not believe he was real at first and truthfully until later when he walked into the restaurant, I was still skeptical. Great time, great conversation, great guy… great possibilities???? Well, no not really. There were plenty of red flags, they did not matter because I was certain he would disappear and be placed in the “round file” as so many others have been. Now be clear his red flags were simple; I do not believe his intentions were anything really dubious. He was merely exercising his options and he could do that safely without vesting much of anything into our contact.

See you don’t get to be given priority and treated special, yet I continue of occupy the “cheap seats”. What had to happen was for me to recognize that this was exactly what was happening. Remember I am steadily being blinded by those blasted checked-off boxes! I never took myself off the market, if-you-will. Now that the smoke has cleared, I dusted off my brain and there it was, I saw it clearly. I did not want to admit to it but, I had to pull back or be sucked-in and filled full of regret. This way we can part ways civil, he will either not notice or try to feign NOT understanding. in either case I know that we are here, at this place because he does not care…or let’s say he does not care enough.

Why Are Humans So Dirty?

As I walked down the cleaning supplies aisle at the store. Said to myself,” There is no need/reason for us to have to exist in dirty environments. Except for the fact that human beings are for lack of a better description are “PIGS”.

First off let me be clear, I am OCD regarding being clean. I am not embarrassed about it. I kinda think I fell into it by virtue of my upbringing. My parents had a janitorial service when I was growing up. I hated that they did that type of business, but I would go along and help when I was allowed. I promised myself I would never do anything as demeaning as cleaning up after other people. All I could think of was what the actual process was, I never took into consideration the fact they were small business owners. Growing up in Southern California, I wanted to be the daughter of a doctor as I had an aunt and uncle who both were. Never be mistaken that I loved my parents, I could NOT have had better ones. I just wanted something more glamourous. There was absolute irony that decades later my late husband, my late son and myself would own and operate a cleaning business.

The adventure began with my spouse and I working for a franchise cleaning company. It was horrible! We were sent blindly into homes and businesses of humans who for various reasons were unable or unwilling to pick up after themselves. It was both a harrowing and eye-opening process. It allowed us to be hands-on in a testing ground for our future business. Now years later as I address the dirty human condition as I see it, I have a point of reference. The process did begin at home.

The child who neglected to return toys to the proper spot, the parent that let the child express themselves by hurling forks filled with food across the room… well now that child has grown up and littering the streets does not seem to be a problem or concern. When you hear this perhaps you are surprised. If that is the case, you will be even more surprised when you find these same individuals feeling no remorse or reservation in trashing the very location they reside at/in. No respect, no concern, no value given to one’s surroundings/environment.

Sometimes when we humans are feeling full of ourselves and superior to other life forms find one of our own misbehaving, we will refer to them as “animals”. However, I caution against that reference for in more cases than not “animals” do not relieve themselves where they consume their meals. As we are discussing here, we superior beings are doing just that thing…so I ask,” Who is the ANIMAL?”

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